Thursday, July 30, 2009

Leone Beach, Rogers Park

Photo taken from Leone Beach, Rogers Park

Monday, July 27, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Official map of Rogers Park


In our research, we found many people did not know if they live, work, or own a business in Rogers Park. The ever-changing boundaries of the 49th Ward have contributed much to the confusion.



MAP courtesy: Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce

We are happy to post our Official Map of Rogers Park, normally included in our Membership Packet, to clear any questions as to the relatively small area (roughly 2 square miles) our neighborhood occupies at the top of Chicago.

For more information regarding how you can join the Chamber, visit
www.rogerspark.cc, or contact us at rogersparkchamberofcommerce@gmail.com.

Thank you.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Monday, July 20, 2009

Search Engine Optimization: Make the World Come to Your Business


How to Hire an SEO Consultant


By Michelle V. Rafter

Companies that can’t afford a full-time SEO specialist can hire a part-time consultant -- but finding one that’s a good fit takes time and effort.

In four and a half years since Sarah Shaoul started a website for BlackWagon, her children’s boutique in Portland, Oregon’s trendy Mississippi Avenue neighborhood, she’s worked with four search-engine optimization consultants. Believe her when she says a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist that’s a good fit for a small business is hard to find.

The first SEO expert Shaoul used was her business partner at the time and didn’t know as much as he claimed. The second SEO consultant did some great work but never really grasped her store’s high-end business concept, and after he raised his rates she couldn’t afford him any more anyway. Then there was the guy who stopped returning phone calls -- he checked in eventually to say he’d changed his business’ direction and no longer did SEO work.

Shaoul is happy with her current SEO advisor, but only because they spent considerable time up front hammering out exactly what the specialist was going to do. Says Shaoul: “Every time we hire someone we gain a little more insight.”

According to Internet marketing experts, Shaoul’s experience is par for the course for small businesses looking to hire outside SEO help to promote an online store or just improve their standing in Google searches.

In many cases, small businesses don’t know where to look for SEO specialists, or once they find candidates, don’t ask the right questions to separate the good from the bad. “A lot of people approach it like it’s magic,” says Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land, an SEO industry news website. “But really it’s like finding a dentist or plumber. You’re hiring another service professional, someone to do a very specific job.”


Where to find SEO candidates

Small businesses like Shaoul’s are barraged by cold calls or e-mails from consultants promising to improve their rankings in organic or paid searches. “99.9 percent of the time you should ignore them,” Sullivan says. “Those kinds of pitches tend to be from low-cost, low-quality people.” Good people are too busy working they don’t need to make cold calls, he says. Instead:

Ask business acquaintances who they use, or get referrals from your professional network on LinkedIn, Sullivan says.

If they recommend someone who’s too busy or pricey, ask that person to recommend someone. “They may know someone who’s starting to build a client base” who’d be willing to work for less, he says.

Look up SEO consultants through a local or national SEO trade group, such as the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. The national group has a searchable database of members on its Website that can be used to find SEO contractors by their specialty.

Once you’ve identified prospective candidates, check out testimonials or case studies on their website. If there aren’t any or if they’re very old, stay away, says Kent Lewis, president at Anvil Media, a Portland, Ore. interactive marketing agency. Ask for three references, then ask for three more to get an even broader perspective, Lewis says.


Proposals and fees

When you find someone who clicks, work up a proposal. SEO and search engine marketing specialists offer a broad range of services, everything from performing website assessments to optimizing sites for keyword searches to undertaking an extensive paid search campaign. It also helps to have a budget in mind going into negotiations, Sullivan says. Being as specific as possible about both will help an advisor come up with a game plan, he says.

While overall SEO fees depend on the kind of work that’s done, fee structures can be all over the map. SEO professionals may charge by the website page, hour or project, or ask for a set monthly retainer to cover a pre-determined amount of work. Some even take a small percentage of whatever revenues are generated from their work, according to Lewis, the Anvil Media executive.


Other advice from the pros:

Beware of guarantees -- Anyone who guarantees your website’s position in paid or unpaid search engine keyword rankings. If they make guarantees, they may be using “black hat” methods to bend or break generally accepted SEO practices to get those results, methods businesses should steer clear of, Lewis says. Guarantees “are smoke and mirrors and most of the time if they don’t make it they won’t make good on their promise,” he says.

Use a local -- Hiring a hometown SEO specialist could be helpful if it makes you comfortable, but it’s not necessary, according to SEO experts. Regardless of where they’re located, it’s smart to check with the Better Business Bureau in the consultant’s home town to see if they’ve received any complaints.

Find someone who understands your business -- Share what you’ve accomplished so they’re not suggesting things you’ve already done, says BlackWagon’s Shaoul, who learned those lessons the hard way. Have your company’s Webmaster or Website developer sit in on meetings with the SEO consultant to translate jargon, Shaoul says, “so you can focus on what you do well.”

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You might just want to contact us at: info@rogerspark.cc . Our president, Bill Morton, is an SEO guru who has been sending websites to the top of the charts for a while now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Friday, July 17, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Five Social Media Tips for Small Business


You just might want to take some time and set up a few...your business's name will spread across the globe in no time!



5 SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES


POSTED BY EMILY MCMACKIN
JULY 16, 2009 03:43 PM


The other day, I was telling a relative who owns a small business back home about Twitter and Facebook, and trying to explain why people spend so much time on Tweets, walls and status updates. "That sounds like a total waste of time," he said. "Don't people have real work to do?" I laughed, but the reality is that while "social media" might sound like a silly pastime, it can actually prove to be pretty lucrative for small business owners who take the time to figure it out. Too bad I didn't have this article from Bankrate.com to show my relative; it maps out how owners can use social media to reach customers and promote their business with five key steps, including:

1. Use free sites to broadcast your business. Find out which sites your customers and associates are on—Twitter, Facebook or MySpace are the main ones—and create an account, posting company-related news, specials or events to your page.


2. Shift marketing dollars to social media to get more bang for your buck. Once you open an account, you'll be surprised by how many customers and colleagues are there, too. You can see who has received and read your messages, solicit quick feedback and get your events RSVP'd—all without spending a dime. So why not scale back on those printed brochures and postcards?


3. Use social media tools to learn about your customers—and your competition. All it takes is a quick search to see how business like yours are presenting themselves online. What can you offer that they can't? Also, pay attention to what your customers are sharing on their pages; what are their needs, and how can you serve them better?


4. Start a conversation. Look for ways to interact with your fans and friends through blogs, videos, links and other engaging content. Remember: The more interesting and versatile your information, the easier it will be for new customers to find you via search engines.


5. Mix it up. Don't just pour your marketing energy into one social media outlet. Pick three, and spread your time and efforts out between them to reach the most diverse audience possible.


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As the old adage goes, "A rolling stone gathers no moss." This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to increase your customer base!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Monday, July 13, 2009

Drums Beat on Jarvis for Bastille Day


We were walking down Sherwin Avenue yesterday, after watching some "Shakespeare in the Park" at Touhy Park, when, as we approached the El tracks, we kept hearing drums. We followed the sound to Taste Food and Wine, at Jarvis and Greenview Avenues.



They were celebrating Bastille Day with live music--and what music it was! Take a look:










The drummer in the foreground is Daniel McNeil, the Director of the Young Men's Program at Family Matters here in Chicago. Daniel has been working with these three other drummers long enough to have put together a very eclectic music program.


Thank you to the many owners of Taste Food and Wine, for bringing this fine, entertaining group to their Bastille Day festivities!

This type of gathering truly celebrates unity in our community, one of the many goals of your new Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce.

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shakespeare in the Park



William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' came to the park late this afternoon, to live, love and die yet once again.




 We caught a bit of this presentation by Purple Bench Productions at Touhy Park. Well done, players!






Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce would like to commend Friends of the Parks for their sponsorship of 'Shakespeare in the Park' this summer.

We support the arts, whether it is Shakespeare, Dancing at Willye B. White Park, or the upcoming World Music Festival, which will also be presented at Willye B. White Park in September.

Cultural events such as this bring the community together. As we continue to grow, Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce looks forward to the time when we can also provide this type of enhancement to our community.

She Chose Success, How About You?

Madam C.J. Walker

By: Amy Gunderson
Published April 1, 2009



“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations….I have built my own factory on my own ground.”

Madam Walker
July 1912


As an early pioneer in the beauty industry, Madam C.J. Walker targeted a previously untapped base of American consumer and worker. Mobilizing a network of African-American women as sales agents for her line of hair care products, Walker's sales of hair and scalp conditioners to black women was so successful that she is widely-recognized as the first self-made female millionaire in the U.S.

Walker was born Sarah Breedlove, the daughter of freed slaves in Delta, Louisiana, in 1867. She was an orphan at seven years old, married to her first husband at 14 and by the age of 20 worked in St. Louis as a laundress. With little formal education -- legislators in Louisiana refused to provide funding for schools that taught black children -- Walker was relegated to menial jobs and hard labor until her hair and scalp problems were the genesis for her own business. She began as a sales agent for Annie Malone, another black-owned beauty business, but soon launched her own line of products using a formula that she said came to her in a dream.

The line of products with names like Madam C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower, were marketed aggressively. Her newspaper salesman husband, Charles Joseph Walker (a marriage that facilitated her name change to Madam C.J. Walker) helped to guide the company's advertising in black newspapers. Many ads showed before and after images touting the products' wonders, a virtual staple of beauty ads today. Soon after moving to Denver and starting sales, Madam Walker traveled extensively in the south, visiting churches and selling products door-to-door. "More than any other single businessperson, Walker unveiled the vast economic potential of an African-American economy, even one stifled and suffocating under Jim Crow segregation," Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote in a 1998 article in Time magazine.

She built up her network of "Walker agents" and paid them more than what the average unskilled white worker was earning at the time. The thousands of Walker agents around the country set up their own in-home beauty shops to help market products.
Additionally, Walker built several beauty schools that served as training grounds for her sales agents and organized workers into a union that paid a death benefit. Her direct sales efforts continued as she traveled to the Caribbean and Central America to expand the company. Her life, as chronicled by A'Lelia Bundles, Walker's great-, great-granddaughter and author of "On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker", reflects a pointed tenacity.

"My advice to every one expecting to go into business," said Walker, "is to hit often and hit hard; in other words, strike with all your might."

In 1910 Walker built a factory in Indianapolis, a city with multiple railroad lines that would help make her mail-order business more efficient. The company remained headquartered and owned by the Walker family or trustees of the Walker estate until 1985. The Walker name still has a presence in Indianapolis with the Madame Walker Theatre Center, a registered National Historic Landmark. While the building wasn't completed until after Madame Walker's death in 1919, it served as the home base for manufacturing the Walker line for decades. The business continues today as Madame C.J. Walker Enterprises.

Walker's sales propelled her and her family into affluence. Her only daughter grandly renovated a townhouse in Harlem, while Madam Walker built an Italian Renaissance mansion on Irvington-on-Hudson, not far from residences owned by American industrialists like John D. Rockefeller. Her wealth also led her to philanthropy. Much of her estate was left to charitable causes and Walker notably gave $5,000 to the NAACP's Anti-Lynching Campaign, a donation that was the largest gift to the organization at the time.

http://www.madamcjwalker.com/

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Harnessing the Wind

Did you know that, years ago, there were two windmills in Rogers Park? We've yet to find photos or drawings, but you can be certain they did not look like this.

One of our very own Rogers Park residents, George D. Sullivan, is intent on introducing this type of wind turbine in the US in order to 'harness the wind'. By the way, this wind turbine may also be situated atop street lighting, and notice the solar panel attached.

Shinko 'Gentle Breeze' photo courtesy: George D. Sullivan


Rooftop power

Local man wants to put small wind turbines on many city buildings

July 8, 2009
BY SANDRA GUY

As wind energy gains momentum as an alternative energy source, a Chicagoan wants to see small wind turbines atop hundreds of city buildings.

A company founded by South Shore native George D. Sullivan on Tuesday won the exclusive North American rights to sell small wind turbines under the brand name Gentle Breeze.

Sullivan's company, Synergy Viridis LLC, is partnering with Tokyo-based Sinfonia Technology Co. Ltd., which makes the turbines, to sell and manufacture the 5-foot-tall, 5-to-6-foot-wide turbines, which cost about $50,000 apiece. The vertical-axis turbines, which come in two models, are primarily geared for use on condo or office building rooftops where they are clear of obstacles and high enough to catch sufficient wind gusts.

Synergy Viridus expects to sell 300 turbines the first year, 500 the second year and 1,000 the third year, and to create 1,000 jobs.

The turbines now operate in Japan, India and China.

"I've been working for two years to bring this technology to the United States," said Sullivan, who also owns his own "green" building consultancy, Eco Smart Building.

He gut-rehabbed his own 10,000-square-foot four-flat in Rogers Park six years ago with passive solar systems, reducing his gas and electric bill to $3,400 a year from $23,000, he said.

Sullivan earned a degree in biology and general engineering from the University of Illinois, and his master's in engineering physics from Illinois Institute of Technology.

The city of Chicago boasts a dozen wind turbines -- none yet Gentle Breeze models -- installed at residential and commercial buildings.

Property owners must obtain a building permit to install a turbine. Residential wind turbines require no zoning variance, while commercial turbines do, said Bill McCaffrey, Chicago Department of Buildings spokesman.

Renewable energy provides a small fraction of electricity used today, but the wind and solar sectors are the fastest-growing in the U.S. In 2008, the U.S. became the world's leading provider of wind power.

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Think about the energy costs for your business today, then think what they could be in the future. As breezy as it gets here in most of Rogers Park, it would be simply common sense to invest in this alternative energy source.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Evangelical Catholic Diocese of the Northwest, Our second member!



Bishop James Alan Wilkowski...what can we say? One of the most wonderful human beings we have ever met!

Please check his website if you have an interest in a church that accepts everyone!

www.evangelicalcatholicchurch.org/northwest.htm

He will greatly appreciate hearing from you!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Quest Network Services, Our first member!

Thank you to Kris Luck, the owner of Quest Network Services, for becoming our first member! Quest is located at 7301 N. Sheridan Road, and has been a Rogers Park business since 2001!

See our website, http://www.rogerspark.cc/, for more information about how to join us!

One of the many benefits of investing in Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce is a page of your own, like the one above--a montage showcase of your business, that will link directly to your website.

Your business is not just another name on a list.

We will photograph and do graphics as required to represent your business in the best way possible on our 'ABOUT US' link page. When you join, YOU become the 'Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce', and deserve your own page on our website.

Keeping Your Loyal Customers Loyal


Better Terms of Credit, Free Services Are Offered to Loyal Customers; 'We Are On Our Best Behavior'

JUNE 23, 2009
By ANJALI CORDEIRO


With the recession making it tough to win new clients, small businesses are stretching their resources to keep loyal customers.

Some companies are allowing regulars to stagger payments or place smaller orders, and even throwing in free services to keep long-time customers interested. With fewer new clients coming in, small businesses hope that holding onto regulars will help maintain stability and possibly boost sales when the economy bounces back.

Faryl Robin, whose company sells high-end woman's shoes. Courtesy: Wall Street Journal

Faryl Robin LLC, a New York company that sells high-end women's shoes, is giving better terms of credit to retail customers with whom it has had a lengthy relationship. Some long-time customers can now pay a certain amount within its standard 30-day payment period, and spread the rest of the money over the next 60 days, says Chief Financial Officer Jim Biolos.

"It's financially more difficult to replace those sales in this environment than to be a little flexible," he says. The firm -- whose shoes sell for $170 to $350 a pair -- has annual sales of about $4.5 million.

The company also is allowing retailers to place smaller orders of shoes -- nine pairs instead of the traditional 12 -- and founder Faryl Robin Morse is spending more time with regular customers, visiting stores to help sell shoes and training retailers' staff on sales techniques.

Without such efforts, which the company says helped boost sales 20% in the first quarter from a year ago, "it is possible we would have lost some customers," Ms. Morse says.

Going the extra mile to retain customers is especially critical for small companies that "typically don't have the marketing and sales budgets to lose customers and quickly get new ones," says Dan Oglevee, a professor of finance at Ohio State University who does consultancy work with small firms.

But an advantage that small companies have over larger counterparts with myriad management layers is the ability to tailor tactics to individual customers and make decisions faster. "Their size makes them more flexible," says Joseph Astrachan, executive director of the Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

Mark Pollaci, owner and president of Nucor Construction Corp., a New York company that remodels office spaces, retail stores and bank branches, estimates about 85% of his business comes from repeat clients. Mr. Pollaci has been providing free consultation services, such as visiting places that long-time customers are considering leasing to give them his opinion. With his customers turning more cost conscious, he is putting in more hours than before to ferret out the most affordable subcontractors.

Mr. Pollaci has also sped up the time frame of projects, completing them faster and at a 15% to 20% lower cost than a year ago to retain customer loyalty. He is able to lower project costs partly by cutting into his own profit margins, and also because costs for materials and contractors have come down.

Retaining customers is particularly important to him, he says, because he doesn't have a sales and marketing division. "There are people coming out of the woodwork to compete," he says.

His retail and banking customers have been badly hit by the economy themselves. Helping them get their stores up and running as quickly as possible and at a more affordable price helps their business and raises the possibility he will be hired again, he says.

Business owners like Simon Graj, founder of a small New York firm that offers branding and marketing services, are offering extra services to their loyal customers. Courtesy: Wall Street Journal

Simon Graj, founding partner of Graj + Gustavsen, a small New York firm that offers branding and marketing services, says that when a client in the apparel business was recently looking to expand its brand overseas, he flew to many of the emerging markets the client was considering, covering six cities within India and China over two weeks.

"We are on our best behavior," he says. In the past, as one of the heads of the firm, he may not have been as liberal with his time and may have delegated the extensive travel to one of his colleagues, he says.

The firm is also being more creative in how it allows clients to pay, sometimes accepting equity stakes or a percentage of sales from a brand. That allows the firm to "bet on the future" with the customer, Mr. Graj says.

What's your business worth?


Posted by Ann D. at 6/17/2009 6:30 AM CDT

What’s your business worth?

It may sound like a simple question, but it can be tough to answer, especially in an economy like this one.

You can figure out the value of your business with the help of a consultant or, if you're the do-it-yourself type, you can do it online.

A recent poll of 921 U.S. small business owners found that 58% have not had a formal business valuation performed in within the past year and do not plan on having one done in the future. Normally, a business valuation has a shelf life of two to three years, but given the turbulent state of the economy, a business’s value can change in a shorter span of time nowadays.

The survey was conducted by George S. May International Co., a Park Ridge-based management consultancy that happens to perform business valuations, so it’s no surprise that they’re interested in measuring how many clients or potential clients might need or want to do a valuation. Even so, there are any number of consultants who can provide such services, and if you’re thinking about selling your business or handing it down to your children, it can be helpful to get an up-to-date reading on what your business might actually be worth now.

If you'd prefer to go the do-it-yourself route, you can try a software system that will help you get a handle on the value of your business. It's called BizEquity. Tim Berry, a small business blogger, calls it "the Zillow of small business valuation."

BizEquity's creators recently added some new features, and Mr. Berry took the updated version out for a test drive. He loaded in some data on a hypothetical Internet business with sales in the range of $350,000, no profit and a little bit of debt.

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We are the official Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, and we are here to help you grow your business, and add new businesses to our neighborhood...to make it as successful a neighborhood as it once was.

If it was ever a time for change, that time is now. We will be giving you info on how to make money, save money, and allow you to achieve a better customer base. We are committed to building a better Rogers Park through UNITY in the community.

For more info, please visit our new website:
www.rogerspark.cc or contact us at: rogersparkchamberofcommerce@gmail.com

The Art of Running a Small Business


The Dusenberry Diary: Who Needs Customers Like This?!

July 2, 2009, 4:18 pm
By Jay Goltz


Debbie Dusenberry had an irate customer call her Curious Sofa store recently. The customer had called previously to get a price on some furniture and she said no one called her back.

To the customer, that was bad enough. But, what bothered her even more was reading about Ms. Dusenberry and her wonderful store in magazines and newspapers. When the customer called back again and asked for the owner, she was told that Ms. Dusenberry was at a photo shoot.

Ms. Dusenberry eventually returned the call, and when she did, she got an earful. Probably three earfuls. Being the professional that she is, Ms. Dusenberry apologized, groveled, and apologized some more. She must have handled it well because the customer calmed down and actually apologized to Ms. Dusenberry at the end.

When you are in business for yourself, it is hard not to take things personally.

There is no other department that you can point the finger at. There’s no misguided policy you can blame that you did not make up yourself. Feeling stressed by the economic environment we’re all confronting, Ms. Dusenberry went onto the by-invitation-only blog she writes for fellow retailers to vent her frustration. She related the situation and how she’d handled it. Many other retailers offered their support and guidance.

While Ms. Dusenberry had taken responsibility and handled the situation very well, other retailers made it clear that they believed the customer was out of line. Egged on, even Ms. Dusenberry commented that maybe she should have told the customer to get lost. One retailer asked the question, “Who needs customers like that?”

My response: I sure do. And you do, too.

Here’s how I view it: The customer was upset, and she probably went overboard. But she apologized. What more could you want?

This customer who goes to the trouble of complaining is far more valuable than the customer who gets upset but never says anything — and never comes back.

All business people want respect.

We all want customers who are polite, forgiving, and in a good mood. Good luck with that. I’ve learned to live with their just being customers. The rest is a bonus.

I’ve come to understand that customers have bad days, and I give them the benefit of doubt. Maybe they just lost their job, have a loved one in the hospital or 100 other things that can bring out the worst in a person. I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up in my father’s dime store, where I was nursed on giving “customer service” before it had a name. I never saw my father or grandfather fight with a customer.

This is not personal.

This is business. Businesses need to sell things.Don’t get me wrong: I take personal pride in selling great merchandise and giving wonderful service. I also take pride in paying the bills. It is much easier when you have customers. If the other retailers are happy with how much money they make, fine. They can get rid of all the customers they want! I’d rather keep as many as I can. Call me crazy.

Yes, I agree that there is a point where “customer service” becomes selling your soul. Customers, for example, who try to return something to a store that they did not buy it from are pretty much shoplifting. I get it. This is not easy. There certainly is a point where you have to say no.

But our most valuable resource is time — and the ability to focus. Getting bent out of shape takes a lot of time and energy.

I do have an advantage over many people. I have been doing this for 31 years. Groveling is a lost art form. For many, so is staying in business.

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Jay Goltz owns three small businesses in Chicago: Chicago Artists' Frame Service, Chicago Art Source, and Jayson Home and Garden.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Friday, July 3, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Aflac benefits

Aflac Rep. Jay Ahmed is a Business Member of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. Email Jay for some great rates on your benefit plan, jay_ahmed@us.aflac.com